RUNC: Mia Foglesong

Mia Foglesong unveils the mind-bending mysteries of psychedelics.

Mia Foglesongphoto by Megan Mendenhall
May 8th, 2024

Mia Foglesong is a senior majoring in psychology and neuroscience within the UNC College of Arts and Sciences. She studies the neural mechanisms of psychedelics to better understand their therapeutic potential.

Q: How did you discover your specific field of study?

A: I’m not sure. Maybe it was when I was a kid watching a documentary on narcolepsy. Or when I was in the Carolina ADMIRES program in eighth grade, thinking about how our lifestyle changes our serotonin levels. I think I always knew psychology and neuroscience existed and that I was interested in it, but it wasn’t until AP psychology that I began to understand my interests.

Q: Academics are problem-solvers. Describe a research challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it.

A: One research challenge I’ve faced was having to reimage and then recount tens of thousands of neural cells. This had been the first time I think I really struggled because it felt like months of my work had gone down the drain, and unfortunately, it was out of my control. We ended up not trusting my cell counts due to issues with the microscope I was using, and once it was fixed, we realized how bad the problem was. This was extremely disappointing, but at the end of the day, it taught me what failure in research feels like and that you have to figure out a way to pick yourself up and continue.

Q: Describe your research in five words.

A: Unveiling psychedelics’ mind-bending mysteries.

Q: Who or what inspires you? Why?

A: Being adopted has felt like a second chance at life. I was brought into such a wonderful home and have received an amazing education. While it’s been a rollercoaster finding my identity and who I am, this is the only life I get and I’m lucky. That pushes me to work hard and pursue the life I want.

Q: If you could pursue any other career, what would it be and why?

A: I’ve always dreamed of being a National Geographic photographer. I love photography and would enjoy a career like that because I want to capture how I see the world.

Research UNCovered delves into the lives of UNC researchers from all disciplines and career levels, showcasing not only their research prowess but personal experiences in academia and beyond.